Op-Eds & Articles

Article

America’s Home-Made Raw Deal for Workers

Author: Edward Alden
The Globalist

A few weeks into President-elect Trump’s transition, Edward Alden says, “it is a new day in U.S. trade relations with the world. A nation that has long seen trade as a ‘win-win’—good for American companies, good for Americans, good for the world—is now asking a different question: what’s in it for us?” 

See more in United States; Trade; Labor

Op-Ed

The Government Failed U.S. Workers on Global Trade. It Must Do Better on Technology.

Authors: Vivek Wadhwa and Edward Alden
The Washington Post

“Much more even than globalization, technology is going to create upheaval and destroy industries and jobs. This can be for the better, helping us create new and more interesting jobs or freeing up time for leisure and artistic pursuits. But unless we find ways to share the prosperity and help Americans adapt to the coming changes, many could be left worse off than they are,” argue Vivek Wadhwa and Edward Alden. 

See more in United States; Trade; Technology and Science

Article

How Cities and States Are Leading the Fight for More Beneficial Trade

Author: Edward Alden
PBS NewsHour

“The real progress has been not in Washington—where the idea of an active government role in promoting economic competitiveness remains suspect—but in the states and the largest cities. More and more local governments have taken the lead in developing competitiveness strategies that start from the premise that local prosperity depends in good part on success in international economic competition,” argues CFR Senior Fellow Edward Alden. This is an excerpt from his new book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy.

See more in United States; Competitiveness

Article

The Cult of the Expert—and How It Collapsed

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Guardian

Sebastian Mallaby uses the framework of central bank power to examine the rise and recent decline of the cult of the expert. He concludes that, ironically, experts need to play the political game if they hope to maintain their legitimacy; and that a healthy democracy is well served by a mix of public accountability and technocratic independence. 

See more in United States; Monetary Policy; International Finance

Op-Ed

Britain’s Post-Brexit Warning for Americans Seduced by Trump

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s ungainly back-and-forth on immigration has a parallel in Britain, which is struggling to make sense of its own impetuous resolution to take control of its borders. Indeed, if Britain after the Brexit referendum is anything to go by, a Trump presidency would be dominated by zigzagging: sometimes to dilute past promises, sometimes to double down.

See more in United Kingdom; United States; Elections

Article

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation

Author: Varun Sivaram
MIT Energy Initiative

Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this report, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark—cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies."

See more in Global; Energy and Environment